I’m still having trouble talking about the last month without blinking rapidly and getting my words all mixed up, but we flew through it and now it’s basically done.
Oh, and our car died. And we took a vacation, which was glorious, but required the equivalent of planning to invade a medium-sized European country to make happen. And then we came home and got sick.
But our sweet little car, “Daddy’s office car” as the kids called it, was laid to rest.
Andrew and I just called her “Frances.”
Buying a new car this month wasn’t really on our original “list of things to do,” so we had to do some test driving and research before we could make a purchase. And since seven kids don’t fit in an “economy car,” we had to get a baby-sitter so we could “research.”
Sam asked us the other night what our favorite part of being a grown-up was and said he assumed it was, “Doing whatever you want to do.”
Since being a grown-up is exactly the opposite of that, Andrew didn’t get his sports car and we didn’t suddenly win the lottery to pay for it. But there was a nice moment when we realized we’d finally found our new car and it felt just a tiny bit like riding around together when we were dating.
Although I have considerably more stretch marks now than I did back then.
I fiddled with the radio and Andrew tested the torque or the fusion or whatever it was and we could just as well have been skipping that psychology class we took together in 1998.
And then we bought the car and landed squarely back in 2013.
I sent Andrew to the bank to finish up the paperwork while I waited on the new car to be ready. I drove it to the house where I met Andrew, we paid the babysitter and threw the kids in the van, then headed on a long drive to sell the dearly departed Frances for parts.
Halfway there, Willa got carsick. I managed to toss a cereal box (an item I’m completely unclear on how it arrived in the floorboard of the van) to her in time to catch most of it, but I still had to pull off the interstate to get her to stop wailing. Andrew, who was driving Frances at a careful 55 mph in Friday traffic, kept puttering on.
I steered the van into the grass and grabbed a spare Finn blanket to wipe up Willa. Then I looked the kids in the eye and said sternly, “Don’t ever litter,” and threw the offensive cereal box out into the culvert.
I got back in my seat only to realize that in my panic to pull over, I’d thrown my phone somewhere and couldn’t find it. Five more minutes passed while I carefully paced the grass around the van, the floor of the van, and finally that spot under the driver’s seat where french fries go to die, before I found it in a crevice.
I caught up to Andrew and we said goodbye to the last vestige of our youth, the first brand new car we ever bought.
Then, because it was dinner time, we treated the kids to Cracker Barrel. The kids had their faces buried in their biscuits when Andrew gestured behind me at a young couple holding hands. He raised an eyebrow. “Remember?”
I squinched up my nose to think and caught Finn’s spoon before it hit the floor… “Our first unofficial ‘date.’ Although you didn’t hold my hand… at least not in the restaurant.”
We grinned at each other and then looked down the table. And just look at what happened…
I bent down to remove the biscuit that Finn was systematically dumping into my purse. I had no idea that we’d go from that first car where he held my hand and complained when he had to let go to shift gears… to a 12 passenger beast full of People We Made Who Throw Up A Lot.
I wanted to turn to the young couple and warn them or encourage them or maybe just apologize for the straws Finn launched in their direction but instead I simply whispered a “thank you” in my head to the Giver of All Good Things: Including Cracker Barrel dumplings, random cereal boxes in the van, and new cars that don’t overheat at stoplights.
Sooooo…. How was YOUR September???